Many glass options are available today that can greatly affect your comfort, protection of the interior of your home, security, and safety, all which should be considered before making a window purchase.
Low emissivity (low-E) in simple terms is a microscopic metallic coating applied to the inner surface of insulated glass that reflects energy back to its source. It is designed to reflect invisible long wave radiation, thereby improving the thermal performance of the window as measured by the U-factor. It can help keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Low-E coatings improve the window U-factor by reflecting long wave radiation, rather than absorbing and conducting the heat out through the glass.
Low-E also helps to reduce fading of carpet, floors, paintings, and furniture by reducing the amount of UV rays that enter the home. You can easily demonstrate the effect of a low emissivity material yourself, by taking a piece of aluminum foil and placing the shiny side about an inch above the back of your hand. You'll instantly feel long-wave radiation reflected back to your hand as it warms.
Low-E glass coatings work in the same manner, only they're transparent!
Tempered Glass is hardened glass. Almost any glass product may be tempered. The glass is cut to the required size and is then put through a heating process. After the process is complete, the glass becomes approximately four times harder than regular glass. When the glass product is tempered it is considered a safety glass. If the tempered glass should happen to break, it shatters into small pellets, which shouldn't cause any serious injury. Tempered glass is used in side and rear windows of motor vehicles and all glass door products. New building codes require many other areas in the home to have safety glass. Consult your window professional to ensure that you are conforming to these codes.
Laminated Glass is a multifunctional glazing material that can be used in a variety of applications. It is manufactured by permanently bonding two or more lites of glass with layers of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayer, under heat and pressure, to create a single construction. It has many uses and applications.
Decorative Glass is a great way to give your windows or doors a unique look. Intricate designs reflect meticulous attention to detail and they offer many different configurations to suit nearly any architectural style. Here are just a few examples: